Vietnamese politics – Confidence tricks

from The Economist..

June 22, 2013 | Singapore |From the print edition

The repression is fierce; the self-criticism mild

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THE police in Vietnam have been busy. Their targets, as so often, have been the nation’s pesky bloggers. On June 13th they arrested Pham Viet Dao in Hanoi; two days later it was the turn of Dinh Nhat Uy in Long An province in the south. Both have criticised the government online; both were detained under a sweeping provision of the penal code that allows arrest for “abusing democratic freedoms” to “infringe upon the interests of the state”. Mr Dao, a former official, carried particular clout in Vietnam’s blogosphere, as did Truong Duy Nhat, another blogger, who was arrested in the city of Danang on May 26th. Under Vietnam’s laws they all face up to seven years in prison.

These arrests form part of a wider crackdown on dissent, particularly online, that has been gathering pace since last December, when the prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, repeated an order to the police to move against “hostile forces” using the internet to “to spread propaganda which threatens our national security and oppose the Communist Party and the state”. So far this year more than 40 democracy activists and bloggers have been picked up, more than during the whole of 2012.

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